SIMSBURY, CT - Darcy Hutzenlaub, of Southampton, NY was among twelve women who graduated from Connecticut’s Beginning Women Farmer program on May 12, 2012 at the Community Farm of Simsbury. The program, administered by Holistic Management International (HMI) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA), aims to close the knowledge gap between established and new farmers, and equip women to own and holistically manage their own farms.
Hutzenlaub manages Food Pantry Farm Inc. in East Hampton, NY, which donates all produce to local food pantries. The Food Pantry Inc is fundraising to restore its orchard and extend the growing season with the construction of a new hoop house. She came to the Beginning Women Farmer program with knowledge of biodynamic farming and holistic farming. Hutzenlaub enrolled in the program to meet more women working in the agricultural sector and to extend her knowledge of whole farm planning.
Ten seminars held from October 2011 through May 2012 taught about the Holistic Whole Farm Planning process. This approach challenges farmers to develop a deep understanding of the environment to capitalize on agricultural and natural resources without degrading the land. Holistic management also instructs farmers to consider their own well-being and their community in planning. Seminars were on the topics of financial and business planning, marketing, land management, soil fertility, grazing and planning, and leadership and communication. These lessons were supported with Connecticut farm tours at Gilbertie’s Herbs in Easton, Cranberry Hill Farm in Ashford, Goode Field Farms in Litchfield and the Community Farm of Simsbury.
Many graduates from the past three years of the program now have a farm, work on a farm, own a business that supports sustainable food production or work with a non-profit involved in farming or sustainable food. For more information on the beginning women farmers and other beginning farmer programs please visit CT NOFA’s website, ctnofa.org. For more information on holistic management please visit Holistic Management International’s homepage: holisticmanagement.org. For more information about the Food Pantry Farm please visit http://foodpantryfarm.org.